Gregory With The Assist
Technically, sophomore forward Dino Gregory has recorded just one assist in eight games for the Terps this season. At least, that's what the stat sheet says. But last night against George Washington, Gregory provided Maryland with a huge assist on the boards and played a large part in the Terps finishing with a 45-42 rebounding advantage.
Maryland faced a 16-3 rebounding deficit to start the game, a horrid stretch on the boards that began curb around the time Gregory entered the contest after three and a half minutes of play in the first half. He finished the night with nine rebounds, and while that total did not lead the team (Greivis Vasquez pulled down 11 boards), Gary Williams said it went a long way toward changing the attitude and approach of his teammates.
"GW came out flying," Williams said. "They thought that they could out-rebound us. If you look at us, we’re not a very big team. They thought they could just catch us on the glass and they did until Dino Gregory got in the game. And sometimes all it takes is one guy going after it, and the other guys start going, ‘Well he’s going really hard, so I better get myself going on the glass also. I think that’s what happened. Dino created an atmosphere where other guys felt they should get in there and give him some help."
Gregory has collected 16 rebounds in the past two games combined, and though his scoring ability remains somewhat muted, the energy he has provided on defense seems to have been an inspiring presence for his teammates. Perhaps it is merely coincidence that Landon Milbourne has developed an apparent comfort zone in the post at the same time Gregory has improved his performance on the court, but I think not. As talented and as athletic as Milbourne is, his size (6-foot-7, 207 lbs.) mandates that he needs some support to be able to operate efficiently against bigger, stronger players.
In the past two games, Gregory (6-foot-7, 227 lbs.) has played a large role in providing that support. Though he averages just 14.5 minutes per game on the season, Gregory has played 26 and 27 minutes, respectively, against Michigan and George Washington.
"What you’ve seen now in these last couple of games, that’s what he gives us in practice," Williams said. "I’ve always felt as a coach is the way guys earn playing time is through practice. And then they get in the game and they have to do it in the game. Dino’s gotten in the game and he’s done it in the game, and that’s great to see. You know, we need some size. When we start Dave Neal and Landon Milbourne, that’s a pretty small four/five position, so it gives us a little more size."
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